Bentham

SIL Open Font License, 1.1

I like the lettering on nineteenth-century maps, on gravestones and on the maker’s plates of cast-iron machinery. It is characterised by expressive flowing and bulging curves, mannered awkwardness and the bobbles on the terminals of its characters. The letterform conventionally called ‘modern face’ is the typographical equivalent, and it can be found in books printed throughout the nineteenth century. Its descendants survived into educational textbooks produced into the late twentieth century, and it is preserved in computer science as the style which Donald Knuth adopted for his TEX typesetting system.

Bentham is a half-way design; it’s true neither to the type produced during the nineteenth century, nor to the letterforms of cartographers, stonecutters, or engravers. It’s really a sort of examination of the characteristics these letters share, coloured by my approach to type drawing.

I plan a companion italic for Bentham. A bold would be worthwhile: the first serious attempts at making ‘matching’ bolder weights of type date back to the era in which the modern style dominated the typecase.

Grumpy wizards make toxic brew for the evil Queen and Jack.
Normal 400Grumpy wizards make toxic brew for the evil Queen and Jack.

One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin. He lay on his armour-like back, and if he lifted his head a little he could see his brown belly, slightly domed and divided by arches into stiff sections. The bedding was hardly able to cover it and seemed ready to slide off any moment. His many legs, pitifully thin compared with the size of the rest of him, waved about helplessly as he looked.

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